Faith | Freedom | Family

NO HIDING: Finding Faith & Freedom to walk out an authentic relationship with God, His Family, and His Word. Through: Biblical Studies | Stories | Scholarship

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Sunday, September 10, 2023

1 Corinthians 11:27-29 has nothing AT ALL to do with personal salvation.

 Reposting my answer for a forum question:


1 Corinthians 11:27-29 has nothing AT ALL to do with personal salvation.

It was an admonition to the Corinthians to self-examine their actions, motives, and conduct in regards to the community of Jesus. Something modern western Christians have a hard time with (thanks or no-thanks to Luther and Calvin) is realizing that the invitation into "The Kingdom of God", Jesus' Kingdom, is first and foremost a community call before it is an individual call.

You are being invited into a community. The "Lord's Supper" was a full meal, not a thimble of bread and juice. It was a weekly celebration of this new community where everyone shared what they had and operated as a single chosen family. Baptism, likewise, is a symbolic practice whereby someone announces they are dying to their old life and becoming a member of this new family, and the family receives them into the family.

This is why the jailer could bring his whole family into baptism at one time, because this wasn't about "accepting individual salvation so we can go to heaven when we die" but about an announcement that they (as a family) would now be loyal to this God and join his family of fellow Jesus followers.

Just like with circumcisions, which made you a part of Israel's family but did not guarantee that you would remain faithful to the family, these two practices are family practices first, before they are individual. On a personal note, this is why I don't consider tiny pieces of bread and thimbles of juice to be a true Lord's Supper at al, but a plastic imitation of one.


1 Corinthians 11:27 NET
For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.



Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller at NoHiding.Faith


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Reconstructing a deconstructed faith... My story.

Reconstructing a deconstructed faith...

My thoughts as I drove into work today.

What would it look like if your worldview suddenly shattered? 

What if you had a core set of ideas that you believed were essential to your worldview and your faith, but you suddenly realized those ideas may me faulty?

What would you do?

I am the son of an alcoholic Pastor turned atheist crack addict psychologist.

My dad was a pastor and Disciples of Christ (DOC) the nomination, AKA the Frozen chosen.

I grew up in what could a cessationist tradition; which is one in which people didn't believe the miracles still happened in our day, all miracles died with the apostles. 

Meanwhile, I was having visions and spiritual experiences. I saw Jesus around 5 years old, I saw demons, and I had strange dreams and spiritual interactions throughout my young life.

My dad left the church when I was around sixteen and I tried very traditions. I went to the Baptists, Evangelical Free, and Calvary Chapels (among others).

In my twenties, I found the Pentecostals and the Word of Faith. Unlike every other tradition I had been exposed to, these folks believed in miracles, the supernatural, and embraced it all wholeheartedly. Therefore, I embraced their theology and lifestyle for a season. 

Eventually, I grew more frustrated as time went on because my lived experiences weren't matching the theology of my chosen tradition. 

When I eventually left this tradition in my late thirties, some of my former friends said I needed to try harder or have more faith or pray more. However, it became clear to me that the emporer had no clothes.

In 2018 my wife died and any ideas that "healing and miracles belong to me as a birthright" (a common phrase in that movement) died with her. 

And yet my experiences as a youth told me that I could not discount miracles or the supernatural entirely.

After years of counseling, grief, but also for hurts, habits, and hang-ups; I eventually came to a place where I was mentally sound and emotionally healthy first time in my life. I also learned that ADHD and Autism (AuDHD) were major contributing factors to many of my worst hang-ups. I learned to process in healthy ways and develop real connections with my fellow humans.

Around this same time (2018-2022), I entered Bible School and learned how to study the Bible academically and not just devotionally. I learned to lay down and lay aside theological systems, traditions, church creeds, and all the layers men have added to the text we now call "the Bible". 

I learned to see the Bible as a collection of ancient Jewish Hebrew meditation literature, divided into various sections. The TaNaKh {Torah (instruction - not 'law'); Nevi'im (prophets); Ketuvim (writings) make up the section many Christians call the "Old Testament", a poor misnomer. The Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) is a second collection of Jewish writings, sometimes called the "New Testament", also a bit of a misnomer.

Fun Fact: For many years the majority opinion was that some New Testament authors, like Luke, were Gentiles. I currently find myself in a small but growing minority that believes all New Testament authors, including Luke, were Jewish authors. 

During my time in academic biblical studies, I found scholars to read and listen to on my own. Many of them are linked on my resources pages. A few names worthy of highlighting (more here): 
  • NT (Tom) Wright
  • Michael Heiser
  • Tim Mackie
  • John Walton
  • David deSilva
  • John Sailhammer
  • David Rudolph
  • Paula Fredriksen
  • Mark Nanos
  • Craig Keener
  • Mark Kinzer

Back to the original thought, about getting a shaken worldview...

One day, it became abundantly clear to me that the Bible did not teach anything close to a "rapture". 

Among all the doctrines I had grown to believe over my lifetime this one was core to my identity and my hope for the future. 

The rapture was the one thing we were all looking towards. It was the thing that got us through a tough day at work. "Gee," we told ourselves, "It sucked today, but someday the rapture is coming. Evil will be punished in a Great Tribulation and we're all going to escape this messed up place". 

After much study, I became 100% certain that no such doctrine of a rapture, or of any 7-year Tribulation, could be accurately found on any page or in any sentence in the entire Bible.

This realization led me to a question that shook me to my core:
  • Am I going to be more faithful to my traditions than to understand these texts I claim to base my traditions on? 
Not too long after I answered yes to that question, this website was born. 

I purposefully and consciously chose to lay down every tradition, doctrine, theological system, creed, theory, or church label... 

I have since basically laid aside everything said by any Christian or Jewish Bible reader from about 180AD to the late 1900sAD. 

Everything from Apostles Creeds to "Church Fathers" are set aside so that I can ask this question:
  • What was the biblical author attempting to communicate to that author's ORIGINAL audience, in his/her own original context?
This is not to say that later thinkers and writers did not provide some valuable thinking or processing. 

This IS to say that anything written after the biblical authors wrote is irrelevant to understanding the biblical authors. We need to be reading the texts, in their own historical, cultural, and literary contexts. 

Example: Comparing the ancient writings at Ugarit and the opening of Genesis, we can see clearly that the cultures were in an open dialogue with each other, and attempted to write poetically and allegorically about the human condition. Debates about 7 thousand year old earth are silly and ignorant, based on poor and uneducated reading skills. Yes. I said it. Ken Ham isn't worth reading or hearing. I'm still grumpy about being told I couldn't buy evolution and Jesus (I absolutely can, and have, as have most of the church outside of North America).

We need to look to the best of current scholarship to help us understand what the biblical authors intended to communicate to their own original audience inside their original culture.

ONLY after you properly understood what the biblical author wanted to say that biblical author's audience; can we then begin to ask what wisdom we might find in that meditation for our lives in the 21st Century.

It's one thing to realize that all your traditions were probably wrong, and all your theological systems where a house of cards. That is called "Deconstructing".

While many have gone through that Deconstruction journey, a much smaller subsection of us began the process of Reconstructing our faith in Yahweh, as he revealed his nature in the texts of ancient Jewish writers. 

Many in the deconstruction movement ignore these principles and simply replace one bad way or reading the Bible with a new bad ways of reading the Bible. Many of the claims of Deconstructionists use the same flawed reading skills they learned from Modern Western American Christianity read their new ideals into the texts. This isn't any more helpful than the flawed tradition that birthed them.

What I (and those of my kind) want to do, is to read the texts in their own original contexts, seek to truly understand the biblical authors intended to communicate to their own original audiences, and then build an honest faith in whatever we see of "God" as he is revealed in his interactions with the people who have come before us.

As I've done this, my faith has gone from rocked to rock solid. I have all the room I need to face honest textual difficulties without fear. I have no need to be "certain" of anything. I only need to keep meditating and searching.

The Bible as I was taught to read it growing up, is a boring book.

Having been given an academic brain and tools, I now see the biblical texts are some of the most interesting writing every produced. It just takes a new set of skills to start reading it as the literature it is, and stop reading it for "religion". 

I hope you'll join me for the ride... 

Darrell Wolfe
Shalom (שלום)




Sunday, February 12, 2023

Question & Response 1 (a list of questions)

I received an email with a list of questions from a reader I'll call "G" at DarrellWolfe.com.

I decided to answer these questions ad-hoc, in the moment, as if we were at a coffee shop talking (as she said in reference to a goal I have for my future). 

I may circle back to these and write about them each in more detail, with research, citations, and footnotes. But for now, here are my gut-level responses to the questions she asked.

Note: my answers will be driven primarily by my understanding of the biblical meta-narratives and themes. Where life experiences come into play, I draw on those as well. While I am not (here in this post) making a particular exegetical argument, I believe these answers to be driven by my lifelong endeavors to understand what the biblical authors intended to communicate to us.


1. What is the meaning of life? 

Servant-hood driven by God-oriented compassion: 

But... Warning: There is a ditch on any side of any extreme. 

What we are looking at here is not codependent selflessness, in which the self disappears in the service of others. 

We are also not looking for a narcissistic service of others to make ourselves feel worthwhile or good.

We are looking for good healthy boundaries around our time and service (put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others). 

We are looking to protect our time, talent, and resources, in order to give them to targeted and spirit-led activities, people, and/or organizations.

We are looking to recognize, first, that God loved us while we were still failures. 

We then allow him to love us as failures, and fill us with that love. 

As we become so totally enraptured with his love for us, we become naturally aware of his love for others. 

As this happens, his love for others becomes our love for others. 

That compassion (within healthy boundaries) drives us to act driven by compassion (not a sense of obligation, religious duty, or a codependent need to fix everyone and everything).


2. Is there such a thing as reincarnation? 

Biblically and textually, reincarnation cannot be supported (at least as commonly understood, read the whole answer). 

If by reincarnation, you mean a cycle of embodied existences in which you have lived past lives here on earth? 

No. 

While some claim to have experiences and memories of such experiences, I do not find any biblical textual argument to support such an idea. I think other explanations would fit the data such claims provide.

If by “reincarnation”, you mean more vaguely that you can be disembodied for a time and later embodied, there is a place for that discussion.

Textually, valid arguments can be made for several positions about the afterlife state; and the after-afterlife state. Or as biblical scholar, NT Wright, says, "Life after, life after death."

I don’t find any of the modern paradigms or ways of talking about those states to be helpful or textually supported - as stated by Churchianity today. "Heaven" and "Hell" as discussed and imagined in popular culture are far more medieval ideas than biblical ones. They're not "wrong" but yet they're not "right". 

But that's a much longer discussion for another post.

To be absent from the body (for those in Jesus’ kingdom) is to be present with Jesus. Those who are ‘in Him’ and have died are with Him now, they are not coming back as other humans, or cats, or dogs, etc. 

They are at his side, and we are given glimpses that they are awaiting the New Creation. They may even be busy at work on Kingdom matters, or hosting an art class, or swimming with Jesus. Who knows, but we aren't told nearly as much about that (what scholars call the 'intermediate state') as modern western American evangelical Christianity would have you believe.

I think the Bible is clear that Eden was the seed, and New Creation (New Eden) is the future hope of those who are in the Messiah’s Kingdom. 

New Creation is an embodied existence on this planet. It is not being “destroyed” as modern prophecy teachers claim, it will, however, be “renewed”.

Jesus is the template for our future hope. Just as his body after the resurrection was both similar (continuity) and different (discontinuity), so it will be for our future embodied existence here on this physical (renewed) earth. 

Our bodies, and planets, get an upgrade, but our future remains embodied. 

It is in this sense, that to be re-incarnated, or placed back in a body after being disembodied is biblical and is the very hope of Judaism and (true) Christianity alike. 

We are not waiting for a Messiah who will snatch us away from this earth; rather, we are waiting for a Messiah to come join us on this earth. 

Those who have died will come back for their new bodies, we who are still here when it happens will get our new bodies, we will meet him in the air as a welcome home party to usher him back to earth as King.


3. If God is omnipotent and has a plan for us all, then how and why does He give us free will? 

Short: Because he wanted to. 

Medium: What does being all-powerful (omnipotent) have to do with giving us free will? These are unrelated concepts.

Longer: This is a common misconception I see frequently. One young lady just today, in a Facebook chat, made the argument that “If God is omnipotent (all powerful), and he wants everyone saved, then everyone will be saved.”

This is what we call a non-sequitur (a conclusion that does not naturally follow the premise). 

Premise: God is all-powerful (omnipotent) - The biblical text can support this claim.

Premise: God wants everyone saved - The biblical text can support this claim.

Non-Sequitur Conclusion:  God will save everyone and nobody won’t be saved - Unclear and unlikely, a conclusion that has no basis in the two premises. And is not well-supported by textual evidence.

Some questions to consider:

  • What character does this God possess? 
  • How has he chosen to use this all-powerful-power? 

Despite the fact people try to use the Bible as a theology book to find quick answers from sentences stolen from pages forced into awkward claims, that is not the book we have. 

The Bible is, ultimately a grand meta-narrative which also includes codes, legislations, poetry, stories, and other genres of writing. 

We are left with a story. That story is about a God who chooses to create humans and give them choices; and then God’s response to those choices.

This all-powerful God decided to partner with humans, and that involved giving them choices and honoring those choices (even unto death).

Even in the few textual cases where it might seem to an unskilled reader that God overrides choice, as with Pharaoh and Moses, a closer reading of the text shows that he never over-rode Pharaoh, he only sealed and locked Pharaoh’s choices.

Since the textual evidence of the meta-narrative is overwhelmingly indicative of a God who chose to have free-will partners, then whatever else we can say this indicates or does not indicate about his character, it must indicate that this is what he wants to do with his all-powerful-power. He wants to partner with free-will beings.

Now, an examination of his character would be another matter altogether. But it seems clear he will not force us to comply with his will, even if that means some form of eternal separation from him. 

  1. Whether that separation is like a room with an open door through which we will forever be allowed to free walk out and return to him (aka universal salvation in scholar speak).
  2. Whether that separation results in permanent and ongoing "punishment" for the pain we've caused others (aka hell, or eternal conscious torment) or a temporary state of punishment until all the bad is purged (aka purgatory).
  3. Whether that separation results in our forfeiting the right to exist at all, and those who reject his offer to joining the kingdom simply stop existing (aka annihilationism). 
  4. Whether some other arrangement not cited here exists, because we simply aren't told as much as we would wish we were, and we don't know as much as we pretend to know (aka my current stance).
All up for debate. Good humans with strong scholarly stances and textual support take all of these positions. 

What seems to me to be the fundamental fact of the biblical meta-narrative, is that regardless of the final outcome for those who reject Him, he does above all else want free-will human beings to join him in his plans to enjoy and over-see creation.

He's all-powerful (omnipotent) and that's what he wants most to do with that power: Share it with others.


4. How do I get closer to God?  I’ve tried reading the Bible but it’s difficult because of the ancient way it was written. 

(1) The fact we have here an acknowledgment that the Bible is ancient is a great start! Many modern readers make the error of reading the English translations as “literal” as possible and typically miss most of the point of the text in doing so.

The Bible is a text written primarily (possibly exclusively) by Jewish authors in the Ancient Near East (ANE) and in Second Temple Period Judaism. Both the Tanakh (aka Hebrew Bible, Old Testament) and the Second Writings (aka B'rit Chadashah, New Covenant, New Testament) were likely written by exclusively Jewish authors. For example, many claim that Luke was a Gentile, but strong textual evidence can be brought to bear to demonstrate he was likely also a Jewish author. 

In order to read an ancient text, written thousands of years ago in three (or more) foreign languages in another world, time, culture, and place, we must do the work to understand. 

Luckily, we have so many amazing tools to do so. 

For beginners, I like to recommend starting with a Bible Project video about the book you are going to read. Stick with the four gospels, and use the Bible Project videos and podcasts that accompany those videos. That will help you acclimate to the story around which history has revolved. Then branch out as you grow comfortable. See also the "How to read the Bible" series. 

(2) God (in three persons), known as (1) Yahweh (God, Father, Daddy), (2) Yeshua (Yehoshua, Joshua, Iesus, Jesus), and (3) Holy Spirit (HaRuach HaKodesh) are personal beings not abstract concepts. Together, they operate as a single operational unit called “God” in English. Get to know them, not just about them.

Maybe start with, “Jesus, I want to you to know, I’m ready to know you”. Listen. Take a walk in the woods, or a drive around the lake, or pace the gym… talk to him, he’s listening. Learn to listen and expect to “hear” in nontraditional ways. Like, that flower just grabs your attention, stop, look at it. Solomon the wise said “Ponder the anthill…” so you can ponder a flower. Let him speak to you in that. Sometimes you’ll see words, pictures, ideas, and stories… let all that flow. Engage your heart as well as your mind.

(3) Journal. Write down what you talk to God about, and what you think you hear back. Don’t worry about “getting it right”. No relationship was built in perfection, and this one won’t be either on your side. Parents love when their kids bring them scribbles, scribble for Jesus.

(4) Sing. Find songs that bypass your head and go to your heart. While I find some of Bethel’s teaching questionable, I also find MOST modern western American evangelical teachings questionable. I know of zero denominations that have all the right answers. I do enjoy Bethel’s worship style. They know how to find Daddy-God’s heart, even if their head is a little wonky sometimes. Find something that speaks to your heart, have it playing on repeat. 

(5) Community. While we stand before God and God alone in judgment, we will stand before him about community. How did we love (or not love) our fellow human beings? We were build for community. In the earliest church, a whole family could be baptized because they weren’t making a “personal declaration” they were making a family commitment. Baptism was intended to be a corporate acknowledgment that the individual was joining the family of God’s people, and the family was accepting this person(s). When you decided to follow Jesus in the first century, you were joining a community of his family. Find your wing of that community. 

It doesn’t have to be in a “church” building if you prefer not to do so. 

It can be if that speaks to you. 

These days, my community is a rag-tag group of people I meet with irregularly. However, as my schedule is normalizing, I plan to find a more regular rhythm again.

No matter the shape or form, find people who love Jesus and go do life together. Whatever that looks like for you.


5.a I’ve lost many loved ones in the past. 

While it is a normal part of the human experience, losing someone always hurts. I am sorry for your loss, and I want you to know that the pain is a sign that you invested in them, it’s a sign that love happened.

Acknowledge the loss. Allow it to hurt. Don’t push that away. 

Get a counselor (licensed preferably) who has certification or specialization in grief work.


5.b How do you personally deal with the loss of a loved one?  

Lean-In. 

Whether I experience a major tragedy or a minor one, I have learned to immediately become present in the moment, and lean-in to the feelings, emotions, thoughts, and realities of that loss. The more present I am (not distracting the pain away but owning it and letting it process in, through, and out of me), the more I can integrate that emotion into the larger framework of my life. 

We all live on a continuum, moments fly by. Our brains and bodies process those moments, deciding what to keep and what to discard. It’s almost impossible that you remember every turn, every stop sign, every speck of trash on the side of the road, for every drive you’ve taken to or from work, school, church, etc. Your brain was designed to see, evaluate, and let go of unimportant moments.

Some of my childhood friends remember conversations I do not remember, their brain processed those moments as meaningful in some way, mine did not. 

In a trauma event, everything comes in and nothing can be processed. It all comes in too fast. So everything is stored. But then we never (usually) go back and process the trauma, so it sits in the queue. 

This leads to a feeling or sense that we are stuck, somehow. Unable to function at our highest level.

Timeline Integration Therapy (aka Lifespan Integration© (LI)) helped me work through my trauma events and integrate those moments into the timeline again. It essentially amounts to rehearsing the event with someone who is skilled at guided remembering, and allowing your brain, body, and emotions to process the event and place it back into the ongoing continuum of your life. It happened, but it is not happening now. The effects are present, but the event has passed. 

You have reached true integration when you can be simultaneously joyful and mournful about the same person, or even events, at the same time. 

Which leads me to the next question…


5.c Does the pain ever go away?  

No. 

But it changes. 

It moves, morphs, evolves. The bitterness can become bittersweet. I don’t think about her as often, or as long when I do. I can look at her things without breaking down. I can see her photo on the wall and talk to her about the kids, laugh, cry, be angry she’s not here to see and be, and yet grateful for the wisdom and seed she sowed into us while she was here.

It can get less intense, and more like a dull backdrop. And having that sense of intense loss, makes leaning-in to the joyful moments more intense too. It means understanding that time isn’t guaranteed and to make moments count. 

You’re still going to be too tired to go out sometimes. You’re still going to be too overwhelmed to notice a sunset sometimes. 

But sometimes, you will.


5.d What are some good coping mechanisms?  

#1  - By a country mile - Get a counselor (licensed preferably) who has certification or specialization in grief work.

#2 - Let it be okay to be not okay. Allow yourself a sick day, or a cry day, or a watch old home videos and ugly cry day. It’s okay to be not okay.

#3 - Get Connected. Don’t allow yourself permanent isolation. It’s okay to be not okay, and it’s okay to isolate from time to time, for a day, a few days. But community and connection are the single most important part of any recovery and healthy lifestyle. Make sure these are healthy connections, as defined by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend:

“A safe relationship is one that does three things:

Draws us closer to God. (Matthew 22:37-38)

Draws us closer to others. (Matthew 22:39)

Helps us become the real person God created us to be. (Ephesians 2:10)

[ Townsend, John, and Henry Cloud. “What Are Safe People? | Cloud Townsend Resources.” Accessed February 12, 2023. https://www.cloudtownsend.com/what-are-safe-people/. ; Cloud, Henry. “The Power of Healthy Connections in Your Life,” December 12, 2018. https://www.boundaries.me/blog/the-power-of-healthy-connections-in-your-life.]”

#4 - Invest in yourself. Start a hobby that you once loved but let go of, or start a brand new one. Start a new degree you kept putting off (I went back and finished by BA in my late thirties, forties). Join a paint-n-sip night. Take dancing lessons. Whatever sparks joy in your heart again.

#5 - Move your body. Take walks. Get into a gym or Thai Chi, or Yoga, or Archery class. Find a hiking group. Start swimming. Anything that moves the body.


6. Why do good things happen to bad people?  

The long answer is a worth a few books on it’s own 

(To start, check out “Where is God when it hurts? By Philip Yancey).[ Yancey, Philip. Where Is God When It Hurts? Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1997.]

Short answer, because we’re alive, we exist, and we are not robots. 

For whatever reason, the creator of existence likes to partner with others and share his rule and authority over creation. 

He created spirit beings (elohim, sometimes called angels) to rule with him in the spirit realm, and he created human beings (literally dirt creatures in Hebrew / Adam-human/Adamah-dirt) to rule with him over creation. 

Both realms rebelled and both realms require healing and restoration.

In order to partner with entities that are not him, he gave them his capacity for self directed governance. 

Which means we have true free-will (despite what some clinging to medieval theologians try to teach). 

We have the capacity to create unimaginable joy and unthinkable pain. 

We often use this power to dominate and control each other (hence the repeating themes in the Bible about corrupt empires and kings, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, eventually Rome, and even Jerusalem itself under many of its kings).

Jesus came to show us the upside down kingdom. A kingdom where its leaders live to serve, not be served. And where dying gives us life. And where the key to victory, is to die (sometimes metaphorically, and sometimes literally).

Injustice is a common theme in the biblical stories, and God works through humans to correct other humans. 

Natural disasters could be linked to this trend; or, they could be seen as part of the seed but not yet full-grown nature of creation.

The whole of creation groans to see New Creation (a renewed existence for planet earth and its inhabitants). 

Until then, we can only ask God how he will partner with us to create pockets of Eden in our world, and bring healing to a hurting world, light to a dark world, and blessing despite the curse.

There really is no good answer to “why”. 

It rains on the just and unjust. The answer becomes, “what” can we do despite this reality? We can sow light into the darkness. We can find ways to create Tov (good) in places of Ra (bad).

God never promises an answer to “why”, not even to suffering Job. But he does promise that he’ll walk through the darkness with us (Psalm 23). We may not even find rest on this side, but the promise of Eden stands in front of us, at the coming global Resurrection. 


7. Do animals have souls? 

This requires a MUCH longer explanation. For a starter and primer to this topic, see the BibleProject video and podcast on this word “Soul”.

[ Mackie, Tim, and Jon Collins. “BibleProjectTM Videos and Podcasts.” Word Study Discussions. Accessed October 2, 2022. 

Video: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/nephesh-soul/

Podcast: https://bibleproject.com/podcast/you-are-soul/.

The shorter answer, maybe. 

But do you even have one of these “souls”? 

I don’t think the biblical writers thought in exactly the same terms that moderns use for such things. 

Genesis 2:7 says that the human became a living “creature”. This word translated as “creature” in the LEB is Nephesh, which is often translated as “soul”. It literally means throat (the thing you breath through and eat through). In modern terms, if I say there are 20-head of cattle, I don’t mean there are twenty bodiless cow heads, I mean there are twenty cows. So in Hebrew, a person is a throat. It is a way of identifying the whole by use of the part.

All animate earth beings (cows, deer, and humans) are Nephesh (beings of dirt animated by God’s breath). It does not carry the connotation of “soul” that we use to refer to a disembodied part of the human. 

So yes, all animals and humans are Nephesh (souls), if by that we mean bodies animated by God’s breath. 

 There is actually much less distinction between animals and humans in the biblical narratives than modern theologians are comfortable admitting (probably because it would put a crimp in their pet theological stances). 

Humans are put over the earth and its creatures as Kings and Queens. That is what it means to “image God” or “be made in his image”. It is a job title. We are to tend and steward and be good caretakers of creation (and we screwed that up royally).

So, when New Creation finally arrives, is it possible my long-dead dog from when I was a child will be there waiting for me. I don’t think we can make a textual argument for or against it, firmly. But I don’t see anything in the biblical narrative that would prevent that from being true. God is very pro-creation and I could absolutely see that possibility.


8.  Am I being punished for all the bad things I’ve done earlier in life? 

No. 

From a biblical perspective, this is not a possible truth.

The biblical narrative precludes this as a possibility. Despite any impression, or even outright memories you may think you have about a former life, the biblical authors do not leave room for this possibility. 

We live one time. After that, we stand before God for what we did in this life (good and bad), not as some arbitrary judgment of arbitrary rules (as many in modern western Christianity would have you believe). 

Rather, we stand before him to account for good and bad seed we’ve sown, the way we treated our fellow humans, and whether we responded to his Son’s invitation to join his Kingdom in New Creation.

It will always be about that invitation, and not our 'earning' of anything.  

You can suffer the natural consequences of prior generations (my grandfather was an alcoholic, his abuse led to my father’s issues, which led to mine). And we can stop the chain and start a new chain with us (my kids benefited from my getting help and counseling). 

But you did not live a life before this one, nor are you suffering for such a life.


9. Do you think the end is near? 

Meh. Not worried about it. Maybe, maybe not. 

I see no good reading of the Bible in its own original contexts that allows for any kind of “end times schedule of events”. The ideas about a rapture, 7-year tribulation, and maybe even a battle with the Antichrist (I’m still weighing that one out myself) are far more pop-culture theology than good Bible reading. "Left Behind" made great novels but terrible Bible reading.

Every generation has had its battle with evil human-made empires resisting the upside-down kingdom. 

Every generation has had the opportunity to see persecution for following the upside-down kingdom. 

Every generation has had the opportunity to lay down its life (figuratively or literally) for Jesus. 

Two things are primarily in view for the biblical authors: 

(1) The invitation to join God’s kingdom reaches every human on earth.

(2) Israel, nationally and publicly, acknowledges Jesus as Messiah. 

Until those two things happen, no. We’re not there yet. 


10. If so, what can I do to prepare? 

The same thing we’ve done since day one of the upside-down kingdom, while Jesus still walked the earth, and shortly after he left his first followers with the Holy Spirit. 

Gather in communities of people who are in the kingdom.

Study the texts he left us through his chosen (ancient) authors.

Pray, praise, sing, and eat together frequently.

Serve, serve, serve, serve… 

Let Rome (whatever Rome/Babylon looks like in our day) be so taken by our tendency to be of service to our local communities that they even when they don’t like us, they find us useful. 

And if persecution comes, so be it. Sing while locked up in jail. Celebrate when it ends and we're reunited with our community. 

And if death comes, look forward to being with Him and coming back with him someday.


11. Are you a believer of fate, destiny, or synchronicity?

Not as they are usually defined. 

God has an over-arching plan for this earth-humanity experience. It starts as a seed in Eden, and it ends with New Eden, New Creation. Our ultimate hope is for a reembodied experience on this renewed Earth. We will be snow skiing and cliff diving and painting, and doing plays and storytelling for many millions of year to come when New Creation arrives. It will be similar and different. Better. Painless. Tearless. But embodied. 

He also knows us intimately, every hair on our heads. He cares deeply about us. 

He also invites us into the upside-down kingdom, to live like Jesus, which means self-sacrifice. The miracles and healings come at the cost of going without and being misunderstood.

Was I always going to marry Flavia and become a widower? I don’t know.

I think he gives us seed (time, talents, treasures) and opportunities to sow that seed. What we choose to do with that seed is up to us. As we sow, if we do it well, it reaps rewards and compounds. 

If we waste the seed today, tomorrow he’ll give us a new batch of seed and new opportunities. 

I don’t think we have a “destiny” to fulfill, I think we have opportunities to be useful, be of service, and to sow our time, talent, and treasures (motivated by love, not out of obligation).

He gives us new chances until finally, we reach a day where we have no more chances. 

For reasons I will never understand on this side of New Creation, Flavia A. Miller Wolfe ran out of those opportunities on June 25, 2018. Yet, I have had more since. Even though she was far more deserving than I.

I blew many of them. 

I chose wrongly many times. 

But I’ve made more good choices than bad, cumulatively since she left. Especially the last few years. By his grace, I did better with my second chance life.

The thrust or direction of my life has produced more good fruit, in part, because the pain of her loss drove me to make my survival meaningful.

Originally, it was a codependent need to live up to her legacy. After two great counselors and a lot of support, and a lot of errors, I eventually healed from that motivation.

Now I live because my God has graced me with gifts and talents, and I love him, and I want to make use of them. I do things like respond to this email because his love for me causes me to share that love with others.

Was I always supposed to start this particular website; or, was it the result of the choices (good and bad) made by myself and others, and the fruit of many countless seeds sown? 

I cannot ignore that there have been patterns, trends, and a general thrust toward a similar direction in every season of my life. But I see that as a function of the gifts and talents and opportunities. Not as a specific destiny. 

Selah (prayerfully ponder and meditate on these things)

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller at NoHiding.Faith


Finding my voice - somewhere in the range of Storyteller and Scholar

 The start of a new season… 

After spending a decade blogging loosely about anything and everything on my personal blog (DarrellWolfe.com), and now several years doing academic writing in biblical studies, and graduating with my BA in biblical studies in December 2022; it is now time for me to find my voice for the next season. 

Things I know… 

  • I know my style is typically non-formal. However, biblical studies has taught me to be more formal than I had been, and this had the benefit of better researched, more thoughtful theological positions.
  • I also recognize that the stuffy formality of academic writing isn’t my authentic self for the purposes of the NoHiding.Faith brand. However, the loose blogging of disjointed thoughts about anything and everything also isn’t “on brand” for this site. 
  • NoHiding exists to make biblical studies and faith-walk topics, academic content, solid thinking, and honest evaluation free from religious systems or denominational positions accessible to the every-day reader and non-academic. 
  • I am primarily for the unchurched, dechurched, disenchanted, disenfranchised, and disillusioned who want to know God, Jesus, and build community with others free of the trappings of “religion”. These are my people. 

So it’s time for me to find the balance between footnotes and colloquialisms. 

The post to come after this is one of many such attempts to find my new voice.

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller at NoHiding.Faith


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Do what makes you happy?

En error while correcting an error, so it seems. 

While self-focused pleasure is not of Yahweh, neither is an over focus on duty and drudgery.

What "Glorifies God" is a genuine interest in freely loving God and one's fellow humans created in His image. 

The sense of this post is an error to the other side of the road. A ditch on either side.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Evil, and Knowledge of Good, are the same tree for a reason. One can never overcome the Knowledge of Evil by working a better Knowledge of Good. They both lead to death. 

We must strive to do one thing, only one, enter His Rest. 

His rest comes by acknowledging His love for us, returning his love, and through it loving others. 

This is our ONLY task. Selah.

PS- Sometimes, more often than we'd like, that love will call us to lay our life, will, wishes, desires, and wants down for others. But if it is love and compassion motivating that decision, while it may be intense, difficult,or even painful, it isn't duty, work, or drudgery... Not if it is of Love Himself. See Steven of Acts for an example of how it works.

Friday, January 20, 2023

#DirtyPastor - Announcement

I will be starting a new trademark under the NoHiding.Faith brand: #DirtyPastor. The Dirty Pastor threads will cover all manner of marriage, sex, gender, relationships, including clinical level details about orgasms. It’s a topic that far too few Christian couples get educated about because it’s been treated as “Taboo”. I have personally counseled with far too many men and women who have had little to no education on this topic. Their marriages and sex lives have suffered for it. It’s time to end that trend. There is no topic for which the people of God don’t have something to offer. Thus, its about to get real here. 

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/dirtypastor

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller at NoHiding.Faith


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Class Assignment: I Follow a Jewish Rabbi: Exploring what it means to be a Gentile follower of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Anointed One)

The King’s University (TKU)

I Follow a Jewish Rabbi: 

Exploring what it means to be a Gentile follower of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Anointed One)

Final Thesis Paper Submitted to Professor Jennifer M. Rosner, PhD for The Shape of Messianic Jewish Theology (BIBT2310)

By Darrell Wolfe

Southlake, Texas, Online Via North Pole, Idaho

Due: October 9, 2022


Table of Contents

Thesis  3

The Tanakh (Christian: Old Testament) 4

The Biblical Meta-Narrative  4

The B'rit Chadashah: The New Covenant (Christian: New Testament) 6

The B’rit Chadashah as Tanakh “Fulfilled”  7

The Gospel 8

The Way of Yeshua  8

Who was Rabbi Yeshua (Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ yēšûaʿ; Greek: Ἰησοῦς Iēsous; English: Jesus)?  8

Building God’s Kingdom: HaRuach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and koinonia-culture  10

The Return of the King  11

Conclusion  13

Bibliography  14


Thesis

A casual review of the current trends in social media revealed at least two common narratives for those claiming to “follow Jesus”; [1] yet, these are incompatible and mutually exclusive. Some claim Jesus is a hippie-like character who just wants us to love each other, accept each other, and who would never ask anyone to change their lifestyle, habits, or attitudes (unless it is to be more “loving and accepting”). Still others claim he is a militant king-like character who is empowering them to wage a “culture war” on behalf of righteousness, to be won at all costs. This second group is often heard to say, “Win the nation back to Jesus” and “Make America Great Again”. A rising third group, into which this author falls, expresses a feeling of “homelessness” and an inability to reconcile either of the dominate views with the record left to us by the biblical authors (those who had been with him). We seek a third way, often called Deconstruction (or as I have come to call it, Exvangelical Reconstruction).[2]

It is at this point in the dialogue Messianic Jewish Theology enters the discussion; along with related comparative studies into the influences upon the biblical authors of the Ancient Near East (ANE) and Second Temple Judaism in its Greco-Roman context. These studies reveal Jesus as Yeshua of Nazareth, a Jewish Rabbi in first-century Palestine, whose followers upended the world in the wake of his death, resurrection, and ascension. This leaves us with a question: What does it mean for moderns (especially gentiles) to follow the Jewish Messiah today? This paper argues that following Yeshua means (at least) to (1) be saturated in the texts of the Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah; (2) building the kingdom of God through Spirit-filled koinonia-culture, and (3) look forward to The Return of the King and New Creation.

The Tanakh (Christian: Old Testament)

The Hebrew Bible (Tankah) is comprised of the same books as the Christian Old Testament; however, they are presented differently. The books are arranged in a different order, go by their Hebrew names, and in some cases may be combined to account for a different number of books (with the same content). The Tanakh is a Hebrew acronym for the Torah (instructions), the Nevi'im (Prophets), and the Ketuvim (Writings).[3] Yeshua referred to this literary structure as, “the law of Moses, and the prophets, and psalms” (Luke 24:44-49). Psalms was the first book of the third section and thereby the designation for that section. Torah can refer to the entire collection, but usually refers to the first five books of Moses. While the Tanakh certainly contains “laws” (613 to be exact), it is primarily a story; a narrative. By understanding this one point, the entire narrative (and meta-narrative) comes alive. Sailhammer’s magnum opus was showing these narrative links within the Torah.[4] Building on Sailhammer’s work, Tim Mackie and Jon Collins have amassed a library of videos to help us understand the Bible as a “unified story that leads to Jesus” with “hyperlinks” to themes throughout the Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah.[5] Rosner calls this, The Biblical Drama.[6]

The Biblical Meta-Narrative

In the beginning God said, “Let us make humankind (אדם, adam) in our image (צלד, tseled)… let them rule (רדה,dominate, rule), (Ge 1:1, 26-30; LEB)”[7] Carmen Imes’s work shows the original calling of humankind was to be co-rulers with Yahweh, acting as his tseled Imagers, or re-presentation, or representatives, to creation.[8] This word tseled is the word for “idols”.[9] Humankind was not to create images to worship because God had already created an image for himself, and it was humankind. Humans are his Imagers, bearing the name YHWH.

As the first humans failed, God promised that the offspring of Eve would “crush” the serpent’s head and that the serpent would “strike him on the heel” (Gen 3:15). The work of Michael Heiser show that this serpent (nachash) was no ordinary snake, but a supernatural being, a member of God’s Divine Council, and a throne guardian (cherub). He then goes on to argue that Genesis 1-11 tells of three rebellions involving fallen spirit-beings (elohim) and humankind.[10]

As a result of this final rebellion, Yahweh “divorced the nations” at Babel and chose a single human (Avram/Abram; later Abraham) to be his new representative to creation order (Gen 11, Deut 32:8; Ps 82, 89).[11] The expressed goal in this new partnership was that “all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed” (Gen 12:1-2). As Avraham’s descendants are taken from Egypt up to Canaan, they are given an assignment to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19:3-6). The vision of Israel is that they would be the world-wide priests and a nation set-apart from other nations. This covenant with Abraham to make him the “father of a multitude of nations” is an “everlasting covenant” which can never change; and involves the land of Canaan as an “everlasting property” to Abraham’s descendants (Gen 17:1-8). The work of Yahweh through Abraham’s offspring will bless the nations and make Abraham the father of them all, while preserving the uniqueness of Israel (ethnic and land) as God’s set-apart nation. Jacob (Abraham’s grandson) blessed his twelve sons, and he said that the “scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler’s staff between his feet until Shiloh comes. And to him shall be the obedience of the nations” (Gen 49:10); promising an everlasting kingship from the house of Judah to reign over the nations from Judah.[12]

Throughout the story of Yisrael, the covenant was repeatedly broken; yet despite this, the prophets spoke of a day when God would make a “new covenant” with the divided kingdoms of Yisrael (Israel) and Yehuda (Judah); which would give them a “new heart” and “new spirit” (Je 31:31–34; Eze 11:17–20; 36:24–32). Along with this promise of a new covenant, came a promise of a Messiah. Rose explains, “From the earliest traditions of Jewish and Christian exegesis onward, students of the Pentateuch have found references to the Messiah … the conflict between the woman and the *serpent (Gen 3:15), the scepter that shall not depart from *Judah (Gen 49:8–12), the star and scepter coming from *Jacob/Israel (Num 24:17–19) and the *prophet like *Moses whom the Lord will raise up (Deut 18:18–19).”[13]

The B'rit Chadashah: The New Covenant (Christian: New Testament)

The B’rit Chadashah can also be understood in three parts: The Gospels, The Epistles, and the Apocalypse (Revelation) of Yeshua. While written in Greek, these writings should be understood as Jewish literature written within a context of Second Temple Judaism. During this period, the Rabbis developed a technique called “stringing pearls”, in which they would quote or allude to a passage in the Tanakh as they taught.[14] As we study the B’rit Chadashah we see that not only did Yeshua employ this practice, but all the authors did so as well.[15] Before we can look at Yeshua directly, we must dispense with two common misconceptions employed by modern Christianity’s use of the Bible: the term “Fulfilled” and (2) the term “Gospel”. Here, again, Jewish scholarship lends us a hand.

The B’rit Chadashah as Tanakh “Fulfilled”

When modern western Christians use the phrase “Jesus fulfilled” they typically mean that the scriptures “predicted something” and Jesus did the thing that was predicted, even sometimes inferring it was now meaningless except as a prediction of Jesus. However, when the biblical authors say that Yeshua fulfilled a given passage, they mean to say that he became the fullness of that passage; that he gave it new breath, new meaning, and new depth. Juster phrases this as Yeshua’s capacity to “fill-full” the meaning of Torah.[16] Spangler and Tverberg show an example of this in Jewish idioms, “concerning 'abolishing' and 'fulfilling' the law. To 'fulfill' a law could simply mean doing what is says. But when Jesus contrasts 'fulfilling' with 'abolishing' the law, you know he is employing a rabbinic idiom… When rabbis disagreed, they would accuse each other of 'nullifying' the Torah (Mark 7:11-12).”[17] Kinzer takes this concept further to describe Jesus’s entire life’s work, “Yeshua the Nazarene is the fulfillment of Judaism. He is the Jew par excellence, the personal embodiment of the people of Israel… This is the key to interpreting the great Suffering Servant passage of Isaiah 53 – the servant refers both to the people of Israel (as Jewish interpretation states) and to a personal Messiah (as the Christian interpretation states).”[18]

The Gospel

Many modern Christians preach a message about believing on Jesus so “you can go to heaven when you die.” This makes a trip to the gospel narratives confusing as this message is all but absent from the narratives. When Yeshua steps onto the scene in first-century Palestine, Israel is living under centuries of foreign rule. In Second Temple Judaism’s Greco-Roman context, the concept of Messiah becomes blended with a would-be messiah figure in Greco-Roman culture, Caesar (see John 19:15). Yeshua had one dominant theme throughout his teaching ministry; he said, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near” and “the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near” as he preached “the good news of the kingdom of God” and helped others “see the kingdom of God” (Mat 4:17; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:43; Jn 3:5; Jn 1:49).[19] The “gospel” is the good news that the Kingdom of God came through Yeshua.

The Way of Yeshua

Who was Rabbi Yeshua (Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ yēšûaʿ; Greek: Ἰησοῦς Iēsous; English: Jesus)?

            First, we must say that Jesus was a Jew. This is not always as obvious to modern Christianity as it should be, with the medieval artwork depicting Jesus as a Caucasian. Friedman summarizes the observations of Jesus’ Jewishness, “We have seen ample evidence from the four Gospels that Yeshua was a Jewish man who lived his earthly life in absolute loyalty to the sacred covenants that God made with his people, Israel. Yeshua was a Torah-observant Jewish man.”[20]

Second, it is also helpful to understand Yeshua is in his Jewish role as Rabbi of a band of disciples. Chilton notes that, “Jesus is addressed in the Gospels as 'rabbi' more often than with any other designation; it is obviously what his followers called him (Matt 26:25; 49)”[21] Nässelqvist explains, “In the Greek world, philosophers, religious leaders, and mystery cults attracted disciples. A person became a disciple as he sought out a teacher and followed him and his principles. Similarly, in the rabbinical tradition, a “learner” or “student” (תלמיד, tlmyd) attached himself to a rabbi (literally “my great one,” with the additional meaning of “teacher” or “master”) or to a movement. Followers of Old Testament prophets could also be described as disciples.”[22] Spangler and Tverberg expand on this theme by saying, “Jesus lived transparently in front of his disciples in order to teach them how to live. They, in turn, were to live transparently before others, humbly teaching them the way of Christ. This approach involves not just information but transformation.”[23]

When we see Yeshua as a Rabbi and compare his teaching with other rabbinic literature and the Tanakh, we see new depths meaning. Thiessen provides an example, “the use of running water, or what later rabbis referred to as 'living water' (mayim hayyim), suggests that John was concerned with using the strongest form of water purificant available to humans.”[24] When Yeshua then says that he would have “given you living water” or that “out of his belly will flow rivers of living water” we see reference to this Jewish idiom (John 4:10-11; 7:38). We also see these phrases flowing in the Tanakh where Yahweh calls himself the “source of living water” and promises that one day “living waters will flow out from Jerusalem” (Jer 2:13; 7:13; Zech 14:8; cf. Rev 7:17). This leads to the aforementioned promise of a “new spirit” (Je 31:31–34).

Building God’s Kingdom: HaRuach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and koinonia-culture

            Just before Yeshua ascended to his throne, he instructed his disciples to not “depart from Jerusalem” until they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8). As the Holy Spirit arrived and filled the first followers, Peter preached a sermon and 3,000 people joined them in a movement called, the Way. Luke then summarizes the entire story yet to unfold in Acts with a description of this group gathering frequently in the Temple courts and house to house while they devoted themselves to listening to teaching of the Apostles and to a koinonia-culture which was comprised of sharing meals and resources; and praying in regular rhythms. As I argued elsewhere, this koinonia-culture became the defining attribute of, the Way.[25] In summary of my other work, the term koinonia (often translated: fellowship) runs deeper than simply meeting often. This term, which Luke’s Acts uses to define the culture of the early Yeshua followers, is a term which means that they were “one as we are one” (John 17:20-26). They shared meals frequently and used these meal-meetings as occasion to take care of the needs of the poorest in the community. They sold property (sometimes) and gave to those who had needs. They operated as a single living organism, not as disjointed and disconnected event attendees. Oliver observed that “For Luke, Israel’s regathering begins as Jews and Samaritans embrace the same messiah and one another as neighbors, that is, fellow Israelites.” This sense of one-ness expanded to the gentiles through Peter and later through Saul-Paul.

While the specifics of first-century Palestine may not apply in our modern contexts, the wisdom we can see from their story should inspire us to adopt their mindset and heart toward building thriving and vibrant communities in our context. Pulling from Rabbinic literature, Chilton observed that "harara" (needle) in Luke 18:24 opens the possibility of a fascinating interpretation, “a camel that passes through the eye of a needle is no longer a camel, and a rich man who enters the kingdom is no longer wealthy. By the time he has heeded the availability of the kingdom, he has put aside business to concern himself with the single royal invitation.”[26] The early Yeshua followers found a way to live out Yeshua’s teachings about the kingdom of God by developing this koinonia-culture. But they ultimately looked forward to his return.

The Return of the King

While J.R.R. Tolkien detested allegories, he enjoyed pursuing the truths of the Christian faith through his narratives. Tolkien rightly alluded to the central hope of the biblical authors by naming his third installment, The Return of the King.[27] Yeshua’s disciple, Nathaniel, recognized him by saying, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” (Jn 1:49).[28] Harrington observes that, “In referring to Jesus, Matthew used the common stock of honorific titles that emerged early in the Jesus movement: Son of David, Servant, Son of God, Messiah, Son of Man, Lord, Wisdom, and Prophet. But he gave them particularly Jewish spins. As the Son of David, Jesus is the royal Messiah sent to Israel.”[29]

As Yeshua ascended to his kingly throne, he affirmed his kingly status “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” and then gave his followers a commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Mat 28:18-20); his disciples became rabbis themselves. Maile provides an important note about the “ascension” of Jesus, “The exaltation of Jesus Christ and his enthronement at the right hand of God is a significant theme in Pauline christology. They are not merely a part of that christology but form the essential core which gives significance to everything else.”[30] Noble argues for understanding the Way described in Acts as living out the Greek idea of a “Golden Age”, implying a political counter-narrative to Caesar’s claim to divine authority.[31]

As the Way carried on with its mission, they saw themselves as building the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:9-13). On this subject, NT Wright built his career and concludes, “Let's be quite clear on two points. First, God builds God's kingdom. But God ordered his world in such a way that his own work within that world takes place not least through one of his creatures in particular, namely, the human beings who reflect his image… Second, we need to distinguish between the final kingdom and the present anticipations of it…”[32]

The B’rit Chadashah ends with John’s Revelation of Jesus. Written in the genre of Second Temple Apocalyptic literature, he tells the entire story of Israel and the work of Yeshua in colorful imagery with multiple allusions to the Tanakh.[33]

Conclusion

As I consider all that was said in light of the two groups I discussed at the beginning, I find the following to be true. The Kingdom of God has very real impacts on our very real world (shared meals, resources, care of the poor), which includes some political implications as our activities may be impacted by political decisions. However, the Kingdom of God has no interest in taking over human Babylonian government systems at this time (that’s Yeshua’s job after his return).

At the same time, being a disciple of a Jewish Rabbi has clear implications of change in view. We are to gradually become less self-centered and more others-centered; but we do this by becoming like our Rabbi, Yeshua. His dealings with both Jewish leaders and individuals showed a clear call to “repent” (change one’s mind/attitude/direction) and join the kingdom of God. Neither of those social media narratives reflect accurately the call to Yeshua-faith.

Wright concludes that “The power of the gospel lies… in the powerful announcement that God is God, that Jesus is Lord, that the powers of evil have been defeated, that God's new world has begun.”[34] We live this hope for “new Creation” by building communities saturated in the Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah, focused on building the kingdom of God through active participation in koinonia-culture, and keeping our hopes set on the Return of the King and the future eschatological ushering in of New Creation.

 

 Bibliography

Alexander, T. Desmond, and David W. Baker, eds. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (DOT: Pentateuch). Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

 

Chilton, Bruce. Pure Kingdom: Jesus’ Vision of God. Studying the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich. : London: Eerdmans ; Society for Prommoting Christian Knowledge, 1996.

 

Friedman, David. They Loved the Torah: What Yeshua’s First Followers Really Thought about the Law. Baltimore, Md: Lederer Books, 2001.

 

Gesenius, Wilhelm, Charles Briggs, S.R. Driver, and Francis Brown. The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament: From A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Boston; New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1906.

 

Hawthorne, Gerald F., Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, eds. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

 

Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven: Yale Univ. Pr, 1989.

Heiser, Michael. “The Naked Bible Podcast.” The Naked Bible Podcast. Accessed January 30, 2021. https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/episodes/.

 

———. “The Tower of Babel and Holy Ground.” Miqlat.Org (blog). Accessed October 9, 2022. https://www.miqlat.org/the-tower-of-babel-and-holy-ground.htm.

 

———. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. First edition. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015.

 

Imes, Carmen Joy. Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2019.

 

Jones, David. Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.

 

Juster, Dan. Jewish Roots: Understanding Your Jewish Faith. Destiny Image, 2013.

Kinzer, Mark, and Jennifer M. Rosner. Israel’s Messiah and the People of God: A Vision for Messianic Jewish Covenant Fidelity. Eugene, Or: Cascade Books, 2011.

 

Mackie, Tim, and Jon Collins. “BibleProjectTM Videos and Podcasts.” Accessed June 18, 2021. https://bibleproject.com/.

 

Metcalf, Reed. “Luke-Acts in Jewish Context (BIBL4310).” Lectures, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, Fall 2022.

 

Noble, Joshua. Common Property, the Golden Age, and Empire in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.

 

Perrin, Nicholas, Jeannine K. Brown, and Joel B. Green. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (DJG). IVP Bible Dictionary Series. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2013. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=633424&site=ehost-live.

 

Rosner, Jennifer. “The Shape of Messianic Jewish Theology (BIBT2310).” Lectures, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, Fall 2022.

 

Rudolph, David J., and Joel Willitts, eds. Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.

 

Sailhamer, John. The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary. Library of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1995.

 

Sanders, Kirsten Heacock. “You’re Not Deconstructing?: What’s Behind the Exvangelical Trend Isn’t New: But It Sheds New Light on Theology.” Christianity Today 66, no. 2 (March 2022): 32–37. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAi9KZ220228000701&site=ehost-live.

 

Spangler, Ann, and Lois Tverberg. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. Updated edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2018.

 

The Lexham Bible Dictionary - Barry, J. D., Bomar, D., Brown, D. R., Klippenstein, R., Mangum, D., Sinclair Wolcott, C., … Widder, W. (Eds.). (2016). In The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. Billingham, WA: Leham Press, 2016. LexhamPress.com.

 

The Lexham English Bible (LEB), Fourth Edition. Logo Bible Software. Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010. http://www.lexhampress.com.

 

Thiessen, Matthew. Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity within First-Century Judaism. Paperback edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2021.

 

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set (Including a Reader’s Companion). London: HarperCollins, 2014.

 

Torah Nevi’im U-Khetuvim (Tanakh). The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text. Logos. A New Translation. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917.

 

Wolfe, Darrell. “Author’s Note:,” n.d.

———. “Class Assignment: Exegesis of Acts 2:41-47.” The King’s University, Southlake, Texas, October 9, 2022. https://www.nohiding.faith/2022/10/class-assignment-exegesis-of-acts-241-47.html.

 

Wright, N. T. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2014.

 


 Notes



[1] Darrell Wolfe, “Author’s Note:,” n.d., n. Reviewed my personal feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and TicTok; paying attention to the posts about Jesus and seeing if they tended toward categories.

[2] Kirsten Heacock Sanders, “You’re Not Deconstructing?: What’s Behind the Exvangelical Trend Isn’t New: But It Sheds New Light on Theology,” Christianity Today 66, no. 2 (March 2022): 32–37, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAi9KZ220228000701&site=ehost-live.

[3] Torah Nevi’im U-Khetuvim (Tanakh). The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text., Logos, A New Translation (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917).

[4] John Sailhamer, The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary, Library of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1995).

[5] Tim Mackie and Jon Collins, “BibleProjectTM Videos and Podcasts,” accessed June 18, 2021, https://bibleproject.com/.

[6] Jennifer Rosner, “The Shape of Messianic Jewish Theology (BIBT2310)” (Lectures, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, Fall 2022), n. Lecture and Handout.

[7] The Lexham English Bible (LEB), Fourth Edition, Logo Bible Software, Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.) (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010), http://www.lexhampress.com.

[8] Carmen Joy Imes, Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2019).

[9] Wilhelm Gesenius et al., The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament: From A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. (Boston; New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1906), sec. צֶלֶם n.m. image.

[10] Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First edition (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015).

[11] Michael Heiser, “The Tower of Babel and Holy Ground,” Miqlat.Org (blog), n. quote attributed, accessed October 9, 2022, https://www.miqlat.org/the-tower-of-babel-and-holy-ground.htm.

[12] The Lexham Bible Dictionary - Barry, J. D., Bomar, D., Brown, D. R., Klippenstein, R., Mangum, D., Sinclair Wolcott, C., … Widder, W. (Eds.). (2016). In The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. (Billingham, WA: Leham Press, 2016), n. See: Daniel S. Diffey, “Shiloh,”-SHILOH (שִׁלֹה, shiloh). A city in the hill country of Ephraim, centrally located between Shechem to the north and Bethel to the south. Joshua and the tribes of Israel camped here after the settlement in the land. Home of the ark of the covenant and tabernacle during the time of Joshua to Samuel., LexhamPress.com.

[13] T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, eds., Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (DOT: Pentateuch) (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 565; W. H. Rose, “Messiah,”.

[14] Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, Updated edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2018), 40–54.

[15] Wolfe, “Author’s Note:,” n. See the following works for detailed analysis:; Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale Univ. Pr, 1989); David Jones, Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009).

[16] Dan Juster, Jewish Roots: Understanding Your Jewish Faith (Destiny Image, 2013), 70–71.

[17] Spangler and Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, 176.

[18] Mark Kinzer and Jennifer M. Rosner, Israel’s Messiah and the People of God: A Vision for Messianic Jewish Covenant Fidelity (Eugene, Or: Cascade Books, 2011), 13.

[19] Nicholas Perrin, Jeannine K. Brown, and Joel B. Green, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (DJG), IVP Bible Dictionary Series (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2013), sc. For a detiled discussion see: J. B. Green, “Kingdom of God/Heaven,” http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=633424&site=ehost-live.

[20] David Friedman, They Loved the Torah: What Yeshua’s First Followers Really Thought about the Law (Baltimore, Md: Lederer Books, 2001), 43.

[21] Bruce Chilton, Pure Kingdom: Jesus’ Vision of God, Studying the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich. : London: Eerdmans ; Society for Prommoting Christian Knowledge, 1996), 104.

[22] Lexham Bible Dictionary, sec. Dan Nässelqvist, “Disciple,.”

[23] Spangler and Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, 69.

[24] Matthew Thiessen, Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity within First-Century Judaism, Paperback edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2021), 22–23.

[25] Darrell Wolfe, “Class Assignment: Exegesis of Acts 2:41-47” (The King’s University, Southlake, Texas, October 9, 2022), https://www.nohiding.faith/2022/10/class-assignment-exegesis-of-acts-241-47.html; Reed Metcalf, “Luke-Acts in Jewish Context (BIBL4310)” (The King’s University, Southlake Texas, Fall 2022).

[26] Chilton, Pure Kingdom, 77.

[27] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (LOTR), The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set (Including a Reader’s Companion). (London: HarperCollins, 2014).

[28] Perrin, Brown, and Green, DJG, sc. For a detiled discussion see: J. B. Green, “Kingdom of God/Heaven,.”

[29] David J. Rudolph and Joel Willitts, eds., Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), sec. p 163; Daniel Harrington’s entry, titled "Matthew’s Christian-Jewish Community".

[30] Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 275; John F. Maile, “Exaltation and Enthronement,”.

[31] Joshua Noble, Common Property, the Golden Age, and Empire in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), 130 (see pages around 130 for full discussion).

[32] N. T Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2014), 207–9.

[33] Michael Heiser, “The Naked Bible Podcast,” The Naked Bible Podcast, n. Heiser spent a full year of his podcast going over the allusions of the OT in Revelation. See the podcast or transcripts for details., accessed January 30, 2021, https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/episodes/.

[34] Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, 277.



Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller at NoHiding.Faith


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